Orioles may have given up, but rest of us must persevere

April 20, 1999|By Michael Olesker

THINGS TO DO while waiting for the Orioles' season to be over: Get a life. Let your eyes wander from the sports pages to discover fascinating and little-known facts about your community. Such as: There is a race this summer to elect a new mayor of Baltimore. Realize how nice it will be to have one again.

Remember Cal Ripken in his youth. Introduce him to your favorite chiropractor. Remember Will Clark in his youth. Introduce him to Calvin Pickering, the vision of summers to come. Remember yourself in your own youth, when you got such joy playing the game of baseball instead of trying to live vicariously through a team of overpaid, overindulged ...whoops, we were trying to think of other things, were we not?

Try to figure out where Jeffrey Levitt's mother went wrong. Try to figure out where John "Liddy" Jones went wrong. Try to figure out why investors would want to build a third major thoroughbred racetrack in Maryland, with the business in such questionable shape, unless they figured slots were inevitable once Parris Glendening has pursued his next destiny.

Throw a ball to a little kid. Watch him demand payment before throwing it back, the way all the big-leaguers do. Cancel HTS, even if it is part of your basic cable now. Wonder why they don't let Tom Davis do more play by play. Include Los Angeles in your summer travel plans, to watch Davey Johnson's newest team play baseball.

Go to Center Stage to see "Mrs. Warren's Profession," about the hypocrisy surrounding our sexual mores. Go to The Block to see its updated version whenever the vice squad drops in. Drink a toast to yourself for not having $84 million to spend on an Orioles' payroll this summer.

Attend a political fund-raiser instead of a baseball game. Applaud enthusiastically when the candidate talks of the need to stop "politics as usual." Then tell him he's got your support, as long as he's got a cushy job in Public Works for your wife's third cousin.

Applaud last week's meetings for a new downtown center to replace Baltimore Arena, a relic almost since its construction 37 years ago. Applaud last week's meetings on the future of Memorial Stadium, a relic since the last baseball game was played there nearly a decade ago. Applaud all the construction plans hatched a year ago for new hotels to feed the Convention Center. We should all live so long.

Buy yourself a prime rib with baked potato and broccoli at Looney's in Canton. Wonder why they charge three times as much for the same meal at the Prime Rib. Buy yourself a burrito at Loco Hombre on Cold Spring Lane. Wonder why it doesn't taste the same at their place on Reisterstown Road.

Call members of the Women's Civic League to tell them, "Say it ain't so" about the rumors that they might drop the Flower Mart after this year. Tell them the city's hungry for its little pockets of charm. Tell the ladies they're the real meaning of "flower power."

Head for the Maryland Film Festival and soak up the charms of the glorious new Charles Theatre and the venerable Senator Theatre. Delight in seeing the familiar faces in Barry Levinson's "Diner" documentary. Tell everybody about the old days at the Hilltop Diner, even though Boogie used to beat you up on the parking lot and chase you over to Mandell's across the street.

Watch city police get to play truant officers in the final weeks of the school year. Listen to them gently urging kids, "Please put down that Uzi, Jimmy, it's time to finish fourth grade." Watch the school board feverishly debate whether teachers should have to buy their own bullets.

Finish "War and Peace." Or start it. Eat your heart out by checking the out-of-town box scores on Rafael Palmeiro and Roberto Alomar. Be thankful there are only 150 games left before the season's over. Look at the bright side of Orioles baseball: At least they never charged us for PSLs. Start a campaign for Washington to get a baseball team.

Go to Homewood Field to watch Johns Hopkins play lacrosse. Boast about the good old days when you played lacrosse for Gilman, even though you actually went to the Maryland Training School for Boys on a shoplifting scholarship.

When the Orioles play, turn down the sound on your television. Then turn down the sound on your radio. Then turn them both off. Wonder if Ray Miller showed up at Jerry Hoffberger's funeral at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation because he's seeking religious salvation wherever he can find it. Wonder if Hoffberger took all traces of major league baseball with him when he slipped away.

Pub Date: 04/20/99

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